Root Inspiration: Parsnip Chia Seed Breakfast Muffins (Gluten-Free)

One of the challenges of trying to cook in harmony with the seasons is that by this time of year, local produce is hard to find. It’s especially difficult for me because I draw my inspiration primarily from what I see while strolling through the farmers market or the grocery department of my local health food store.

More often than not, a striking vegetable will catch my attention and inspire a recipe. During these wintry months there isn’t much that’s particularly pretty or interesting about the vegetables that are available (in New York City) and the only locally grown produce are roots that have been stored since the fall.

The scarcity got me thinking about new ways to use these winter staples, and while I was recently shopping, a small mound of parsnips caught my eye and sparked ideas for a breakfast muffin. Being a sweet root vegetable, they lend themselves well to sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and can be treated the same way as sweet potatoes or carrots in baking.

These muffins have a lovely moist texture from the combination of almond, oat and brown rice flour, and a sweet “buttery” quality thanks to coconut oil. Along with eggs, they contain chia seeds to help bind them. The chia seeds also add a pleasant crunch to the batter and an omega-3 boost.

Gluten-Free Parsnip Muffins

Makes 10 muffins


3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 tablespoon arrowroot

1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to sprinkle on top

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

Pinch ground allspice

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups peeled and grated parsnip (from 1 large parsnip)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

Combine chia seeds, almond meal and almond milk in a medium bowl and set aside to thicken for at least 10 minutes.

Add almond meal to another medium bowl and stir to break up any lumps. Sift in rice flour, coconut flour, oat flour, baking powder, arrowroot and spices. Stir to combine and set aside.

Add eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and salt to chia seed mixture, and whisk to combine. Stir in parsnip and add to flour mixture. Mix until just combined and spoon into muffin pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer based in New York City. She is the author of the award winning cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. See more of Amy’s recipes at

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